Going away this summer?
Whether you'll be spending a long weekend at the beach or a full month abroad, we're sharing our top tips for prepping your plants before your departure.
1. Maintain Moisture
- If you'll be away for a week or less, a good soil-soaking before departure should be sufficient. While you shouldn't regularly overwater your plants, this is an exception to the rule. Make sure to let your potted plant drain before you're on your way - so the soil is soaked but your plants aren't sitting directly in a saucer of water, which could attract pests.
- If you'll be away for more than a week there are a couple ways to prepare your plant - try one tip or a combination, depending on the length of your trip and the variety of plant.
- Add mulch, rocks, or wood chips directly to your plant's soil to help hold moisture. We've heard damp newspaper can also do the trick.
- Water your plant thoroughly and then cover with a clear plastic bag, creating a makeshift greenhouse. Make sure to cut a couple slits in the plastic to allow for air circulation. Use birch sticks to hold the bag up and way from the foliage. Do not cover the planter's drainage holes.
- Line a shallow tray with small rocks and fill the tray with water almost to the top of the rocks but not quite. You don't want the base of your planter to be sitting directly in water, but instead resting atop the rocks.
- Transport your plants to your bathroom (provided you have a window) or another small room and group them together. The smaller the room the easier it is to maintain humidity.
2. Tweak Temperature
- The more sun your plant receives, the more thirsty it will be. Most plants are likely to wilt if placed in direct sunlight for an extended period of time, especially if there's a sudden lack of water. Because you won't be around to keep a close eye on them, move your plants that are usually kept on a sunny sill to the center of the room, or a spot lit by indirect sunlight, while you're away. This helps to keep the soil from drying out and the leaves from burning. Once you return, you can move your plants back to their usual spot.
3. Forgo Fertilizer
- If you use fertilizer, hold off on it until you return. You want your plants to grow as slowly as possible while you're gone. Prune off flowers, too, which require more water.
4. Please Prune
- In addition to pruning off any dead or dying foliage, prune off buds and flowers, which require more water.
* Remember, the tips above do not apply to your drought-tolerate and sun-loving cacti and succulents. If you are an avid traveler - those are the plants for you.
Whatever preparation you decide to do, give yourself a big pat on the back when you return to a healthy and happy houseplant. It missed you, too. Have a tip you'd like to share? Comment below.